After a handful of English-language publications declared that authorities had "shut down" the Beijing Independent Film Festival (BIFF), many people likely dusted their hands of the matter, thinking censorship had once again triumphed over artistic expression. But as James Hsu discovered more than a week after the festival’s supposed cancellation, BIFF held a successful, albeit quiet, closing ceremony following a full program of screenings and panels.
So what happened? A few days after the closing, I met with artistic director Dong Bingfeng to ask him about that and other issues on censorship, film in China, and independent festivals in the future.
An explosion outside Balijie Primary School between 7 and 8 am today in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has left at least two dead and 17 injured. Witnesses told Xinhua that the explosion happened when "a man riding a three-wheeled motorcycle passed the entrance," though the exact cause of the blast remains unknown.
Dennis Rodman has returned from Pyongyang. No Kenneth Bae (of course), but Reuters reports he "spent quality time" with Kim Jong-un, and has pictures (above) to prove it. That's something. The hilariously mismatched friends apparently watched a basketball game, according to KCNA news agency.
Yang Dacai, dubbed the "smiling official" after he was pictured grinning ear-to-ear at the scene of a horrific traffic accident last August, has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for accepting bribes. He smiled. As Wall Street Journal notes, he looked "oddly beatific."
The parents of kidnapped children are often anguished, distraught, hysterical, and other things we can't begin to imagine. That's easy enough to understand, because we've all had something stolen from us, maybe even something valuable, so we can at least appreciate what it's like to lose a child.
But this -- this is slightly tougher to fathom.
We apparently have closure in the disturbing case of the six-year-old boy who was blinded after a vicious attack in Linfen, Shanxi. By closure, we mean that police are going to stop investigating. But what actually happened on that fateful evening, when both of Guo Bin's eyes were gouged out, remains very much unknown.
Dennis Rodman arrived back in North Korea today for the first time since March, when he became the first American to meet Kim Jong-un since the marshal took power. Rodman was greeted at Pyongyang Airport by the Associated Press, to which he said:
Imagine being trapped in a car stuck in a culvert amid heavy rain. The water level slowly rises, starting from the knees. You call the police. One hour passes. It's at your neck. Two hours. Your mouth. And still, no signs of rescuers...
Sometime after 9 pm on July 18, Linzhou police officer Guo Zengxi, off-duty and on a night-long bender, stumbled outside a KTV building, snatched a 7-month old infant out of an unfamiliar couple’s hands, raised her over his head, and slammed her into the ground. The young girl, named Yueyue, lost consciousness before being rushed to the hospital, then spent days in intensive care with multiple skull fractures.
After locking someone up for misreporting the number of deaths in a traffic accident as 16 when it was really 10, and someone else for saying seven died in a different traffic accident when the real answer was three, and smearing Charles Xue, authorities apparently still believe their anti-rumor-mongering campaign is effective. In Qinghe, Hebei province, they've used it to net another victim recently:
Xinhua is reporting that four are dead and 10 injured after a 5.9-magnitude earthquake (5.8-magnitude according to the US Geological Survey) struck the tourist area of Shangri-la in Yunnan province this morning.
Whatever happens in the privacy of one's home is apparently not always private, especially if you're a notorious rabblerouser with 12 million followers on Sina Weibo.
Chinese American Charles Xue, aka Xue Biqun (and Xue Manzi on Weibo, an anti-trafficking and environmental adovcate), was captured in Beijing last Friday for soliciting a 22-year-old prostitute. That's hardly the end of the story though. In the past week, authorities have gleefully smeared him in public, including on, it seems, every CCTV news broadcast, emphasizing Xue's confession and his love for sex parties. LOCK HIM WITH THE PEDOPHILES!
Li Tianyi, 17, son of PLA singers Li Shuangjiang and Meng Ge, pleaded not guilty to gang rape on Wednesday as his trial kicked off in Beijing's Haidian People's Court.
An "insider" told Beijing News that Li said he was sleepy on February 17 after a night of drinking, so when he and four friends brought the alleged victim, a 23-year-old woman surnamed Yang, up to a hotel room -- where they took turns raping / having sex with her (depending on who you believe) -- he was not up to task.
One high-profile trial ends, and another begins.
Hearings for Li Tianyi, son of famous PLA singer Li Shuangjiang, commenced this morning from Beijing's Haidian People's Court.
Li, who is also known as Li Guanfeng, and four others are accused of gang-raping a woman surnamed Yang on the night of February 17 in a hotel.
Nice things continue to fall by the wayside. First, check out the above picture, found on several Chinese websites. Chutian City Paper has a good write-up of the incident, explaining that on August 1, a young boy playing in a fountain with high-pressure jet streams in Enshi, Hubei province was suddenly blasted two meters into the air. He landed on his face on the concrete, his clothes torn, face bloody.
Oh God, people. On Monday evening in Linfen, Shanxi province, a six-year-old boy had both of his eyes gouged out after he was kidnapped outside his home. He was then left outside, bleeding and crying, where neighbors found him later that night.
This is weird and tragic rolled up in one. Watch as, at the 20-second mark, a young boy in red starts galloping alongside an ambulance that also happens to be accelerating. And then watch, at the 24-second mark, as the ambulance judders to a stop.